April 14, 2024


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New ways to increase Europe’s sheep… – Information Centre – Research & Innovation

Sheep output in Europe is on the decline – indicating the EU is now importing far more sheep meat than at any time. That is why an EU-funded undertaking is bringing Europe’s major sheep manufacturing nations alongside one another to create new options and best methods. As a end result, farmers across Europe are presently observing an improve in both of those sheep output and profitability that will also reward customers.


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Sheep meat and milk output is an crucial industry in Europe, primarily in nations like Eire, France, Italy, Romania, Spain and the Uk. In simple fact, with 85 million sheep on 830 000 farms in the EU, furthermore an added 33 million sheep in Turkey, Europe’s flock is greater than Australia and New Zealand’s mixed.

Still even with this massive quantity of sheep, Europe is only 85 % self-ample in sheep meat. As a end result, the EU is the world’s second biggest importer of sheep meat.

Driving this hole in self-sufficiency is a declining sheep industry. Given that 2000, the quantity of sheep producers in the EU has declined by 50 %, and through the earlier 10 several years sheep efficiency has reduced by up to 40 % (depending on the nation and the farming procedure). 

“Different elements can demonstrate this decline, but the primary just one is reduced sheep efficiency, or the quantity of lambs reared per ewe joined on the farm,” states Jean-Marc Gautier, Chief of Company at France’s Institut de l’Elevage.

Even so, regardless of this destructive development, Gautier sees sizeable chances for bettering sheep efficiency. “By bettering replica accomplishment and lamb survivability, we can make improvements to farm profitability and improve the self-sufficiency of sheep meat in Europe,” he states.

Encouraging sheep farmers leverage these chances is the EU-funded SheepNet undertaking, a community of the EU’s major sheep manufacturing nations and Turkey. “Working with experts and shareholders, the undertaking formulated and shared options for rising output with out owning to export excess sheep meat,” provides Gautier.

Building sheep output far more desirable

The project’s primary target was to achieve an improve in ewe efficiency of .1 lambs reared per ewe joined. This would be the equivalent of 64 000 tonnes of sheep meat, so resulting in a net self-sufficiency of 92 %. In addition, farmers would receive an approximately EUR 10 improve for each added .1 lamb marketed per ewe joined.

“We are confident that these variations will make sheep output far more desirable for both of those the current and next generations of producers,” points out Gautier.

To achieve this, the undertaking labored straight with farmers, experts, and other stakeholders. Alongside one another, they recognized options and best methods for bettering ewe efficiency and flock profitability.

“These options targeted on every thing from diet administration through late being pregnant to colostrum administration, causes of lamb mortality and abortion, synthetic rearing, ewe entire body condition score, and sheep get rid of administration,” states Gautier. “We also created a lambing inventory and strategy for better ram administration.” 

In total, the undertaking generated forty two options, 88 guidelines and tips, and 22 factsheets. All of these deliverables are offered through the SheepNet group platform in six languages. Each incorporates extensive information and facts on anticipated expenses and rewards, prerequisites, references, and feedback from real farmers.

Owning a large effect

With these options in hand, scientists next turned in the direction of dissemination. “SheepNet is all about practice-driven innovation and practical information sharing,” remarks Gautier. “Through our community, we promoted the implementation and dissemination of modern systems and methods for bettering sheep efficiency.”

Dissemination functions bundled the organisation of five workshops per partner nation (35 in total), furthermore five transnational workshops and a ultimate summary seminar. Other functions bundled the output of 19 push releases, 143 article content, one hundred twenty video clips, and 33 infographics – not to point out the use of numerous social media platforms.

According to Gautier, SheepNet’s options are presently owning a large effect. “We’ve acquired sizeable feedback from farmers telling us how they are utilizing our community and options to make improvements to flock efficiency, labour efficiency, and farm profitability,” concludes Gautier.

Based mostly on the project’s accomplishment, scientists released EuroSheep, a spin-off Horizon 2020 undertaking targeted on sheep health and diet. They are presently doing the job on a new precision livestock farming initiative.